Engineer, teacher, photographer, actor, musician, artist, event designer... the list goes on. Artsy Analytical Dad on the Street Tom Schultheis has pursued his passions his entire life and picked up some wisdom along the way.
Tom Schultheis has been married to his wife Connie for 32 years and they have three grown children. He is currently retired after enjoying a 30-year career as an environmental engineer for the Department of Defense. Prior to that, he served 3 years on Young Life staff and 6 years teaching high school math. Although Virginia Beach has been his home for 40 years, he has traveled extensively throughout the United States and has visited more than 50 foreign countries. He has performed professionally in musical theater, appeared in national and local television commercials, and drafted International Agreements with numerous foreign countries, including three that were signed by U.S. Secretaries of State and respective Foreign Ministers.
In retirement, he has taken up art photography. His work can be seen on the walls of many Hampton Roads establishments and venues. Numerous juried expeditions have featured his photography, including the Artists Gallery in Virginia Beach, the Chrysler Museum, and the d’Art Center in Norfolk. He was also selected to display his work at the Oberndorf Central Library Art Gallery in a one-man exhibition.
What are two adjectives to describe you and your style? I often hear the term “renaissance man” to describe me, and I have to confess when I first heard it in my mid-twenties I had to look it up because I didn’t really know what it meant. Looking back over my life, I think it has meant that the left and right sides of my brain are in perpetual competition and experience has shown that I am as comfortable giving a policy briefing to a U.S. Ambassador as I am performing in a stage musical. So I think maybe the two adjectives I would choose to describe my “style” would be “analytical” and “artsy”... with maybe a dash of “eclectic” thrown in.
What trend did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? Speedo swimsuits.
Clean-shaven or facial hair? I wore a walrus-y mustache for about 10 years, mostly to look older when I was a very young high school teacher. I would consider a beard if I could actually grow one.
Who would you pick to play yourself in a movie? Matt Damon or Kevin Kline.
What are some of your hobbies? On a daily basis, I like a good crossword, cryptoquip, or Sudoku puzzle. Realizing how dull that makes me sound, I‘ll quickly add that in my life I have enjoyed a bunch of hobbies, including Christian missions work, racquetball, cooking, singing, acting, and most recently, photography.
Favorite show to perform in: Actually, I have to list two - Pump Boys and Dinettes at the Founders Inn and also on the 24th Street Stage, and West Side Story at the Harrison Opera House.
What are your favorite TV shows to binge-watch? British crime dramas, Bob’s Burgers, and The Repair Shop (an undiscovered gem).
What's your favorite book? 3 books I have read and re-read many times: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, and The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.
What's your style of photography? Diverse. Local iconic stuff as well as foreign subject matter. I like to experimentwith color, focus, and composition, but the subject matter is all over the page.
What's your favorite meal to make? New York Strip steak, marinated in olive oil and garlic, grilled to rare perfectionover charcoal. Once you have that, do side dishes really matter?
What's your favorite thing about retirement? Not setting the alarm.
What's your all-time favorite family vacation? Sanibel Island, Florida.
What's top on your travel bucket list? Before responding, I should mention that I have had the pleasure of traveling to 58 countries. So, the bucket list is pretty small. I think I would choose to go to Kenya or Tanzania, or maybe somewhere in Polynesia like Bora Bora.
What's the craziest thing that's happened on a family vacation? While vacationing in the Alps, I drove into town to pick up some groceries and couldn’t get back to the bed and breakfast because a herd of cattle was laying in the road. I had to turn around and drive all the way around the mountain.
What's your advice to anyone traveling overseas on vacation? Enjoy and appreciate the non-American-ness of the culture. Learn the social dos and don’ts before you go. Be cordial but try not to smile too much (many cultures don’t trust smiles from foreigners). Don’t be too self-conscious to play charades when you have to in order to communicate.
If you could return to one place, where would it be? Oberammergau, Germany.
What's the wildest thing you did as a child that kids today would never get away with? There are literally too many to list here. I would have to say that at the top of the list is a game that my cousins and I called “fritters” for lack of a better name. Four or five of us would wait until it was dark outside and our parents were out back sitting in lounge chairs, well into their second martinis. We would creep into my cousins’ basement armed with 3 sets of plastic bowling pins that we would divide amongst ourselves. Someone would turn out the lights and we would crawl or slither in the dark to alternate locations in the room. We were careful not to make a sound. If you did hear something, you would hurl a bowling pin in that direction in hopes of inflicting pain on your opponent. The challenge was not only to score hits but also to avoid crying out when you were hit. That would invite a blitz of pins your way. The winner was the one with the fewest number of bruises or flesh wounds.
What parenting advice would you go back and give yourself as a new parent? Look for ways to enjoy and celebratethat time in your life more. It passes in the blink of an eye.
What's your parenting true confession? When my son, Brant, was about 6 months old, I sat him up in a wagon and pulled him up and down the street in front of our house. He was too young to support himself sitting upright like that and rolled out of the wagon onto his head. There were no serious injuries, but it took me 6 months to confess it to his mom.
What's your go-to family dinner? Jaegerschnitzel with mushroom gravy, with asparagus and fries on the side.
If you could share a meal with anyone in the world, who would it be? It would be my mom, who died when I was 14. If I had to pick from living folks, then I’d pick the cast of The Repair Shop or The Great British Baking Show.
Tom is a true renaissance man and artist. We love how he pursues his passions wholeheartedly and continues to live life to the fullest. Check out his Flickr for more of his amazing photography. If you're interested in purchasing prints or framed prints, contact him at email@example.com or call 757-353-9419.
And for more fun and stylish dads, be sure to check out FamilyApp‘s Dad on the Street page!